Hard Earned Wisdom: An incredibly beautiful MESS

The moment everything went so RIGHT in a world that looked so WRONG! For a very long time I sat contemplating where did I go wrong. How did I, at 30 years old become a divorced mother of 3? My plan was never to become a negative societal statistic. I honestly felt I strategically played my part to ensure my family achieved the “American Dream”. This family started off rocky from the jump. Yanni and Za, my 1st and 2nd born were both products of unmarried young adults lost in the way of the world. We were a family supported by every acronym the State of Texas could create AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), WIC ( Women, Infants and Children), CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) , etc..). I had a plan, I was going to fix this.

I was determined to single handedly improve our lives. I was never raised on food stamps, and attended to enough Vacation Bible School summer classes to know this was not my final destination in life. I had always been taught that if you work hard the world couldn’t deny you your rightful piece of the pie. I was determined to test this logic. After 10 years of enrollment in many Texas universities and colleges, 3 kids, becoming Hurricane Rita refugees and eventually the exchanging of vows I finally obtained my degree In Industrial Technology from Lamar University. Hallelujah! I never got the opportunity to put my degree to use though.

The day someone playfully shot out the enclosure glass of the bus stop located 10 ft from my daughter’s bedroom window I realized I needed a hustle and I needed it fast. I eventually got exhausted with the “sorry we have chosen someone with more experience” emails. I always felt those emails should read, “ sorry, you weren’t referred by anyone that we golf with ”. I’d heard you could receive your teaching certification through an alternative certification program if you had a bachelor’s degree.  How about I teach?!

Mind you, I am that person, who said all my life I could not, would not and probably should not for the sake of my sanity teach anyone’s children. By this time unfortunately, teaching had become the new hustle in Texas. For some like myself it was no longer about passion but about making a dollar, unfortunately. It was my Plan D. Yes A, B, and C all epic fails. With my new career I was able to partially compete with the Joneses. Within months I had purchased our first home in a gated community in Houston and was sitting on black leather seats listening to my XM satellite radio. I have arrived. Wait! I have arrived.

Why do I feel I am arriving alone? Why does it feel like I am alone in this mad dash for success? Why do you, my husband, get to hi five the homies as they marvel in the accomplishments of our family? I am almost 100% sure this was not how this plan played out in my head! Eventually, I realized that “I” was doing too much planning. I needed to acknowledge that my story was already written and I was only a co-author. The moment I released trying to hold on to a story I created, I was able to allow myself the ability to stand in the presence of an incredibly beautiful mess.

Yes, I am now a single parent and the word co-parent is just cute and a far figment of my imagination. The truth is I am raising fatherless children in foreign world. I am okay with that. I am done keeping up with the Joneses. Once you live next door to them, you realize “hell, the Joneses got more issues than Playboy magazine”! Even in this mess I have found a place of peace. Sometimes you have put the pen down and just LIVE!

Tanai Benard 4 Deep!



6 thoughts on “Hard Earned Wisdom: An incredibly beautiful MESS

  1. Hello find your blog very inspirational . I have just completed my phone interview with Footsteps. I am applying for a job in Abu Dhabi..I am very concerned about the transition with my 11 year old twins.. They will have to come with me when I go. I hear that some people go and get settled and then send for their children. That is not an option for me. I have questions about the schools and the cost. I am wondering how to start the processes of looking for schools for the twins. I am not sure where to start since I will not know my location until I am there.. Is there any advice you can give?


    1. Hello Regina,
      I applaud you for taking the first step in a life changing experience. I would be happy to answer some of your questions. Feel free to email me: TanaiBenard (AT) gmail.com


  2. Keep them coming friend. Glad to see your struggles and victories are helping others. Somebody will read these and PUSH THRU because they know there’s a better way.
    Not sure how many I can read in one sitting. Im on #2 for the day and my eyes are leaking, lol.


  3. Whoa I felt like you were in my closet. I was just thinking today the word “coparenting” is a psychology buzz word! As I stated on my blog post as single moms we must always have a plan a, b, c, d, etc.. We things don’t pan out it just makes us more empowered to reach the next level. Our potential is overflowing. We live our story so why not share with others. You’re a true inspiration!


  4. “I realized that “I” was doing too much planning. I needed to acknowledge that my story was already written and I was only a co-author. The moment I released trying to hold on to a story I created, I was able to allow myself the ability to stand in the presence of an incredibly beautiful mess.” Such powerful friends… My prayer is now that I may live this idea in practice.. I am the queen of having a mental plan in my head for how my life, my sons lives, my ex-husband’s life, and everyone that I come in contact life, should look…. Wow, I have felt the call to come abroad for several years now. It is your blog that has given me that ounce of courage to take the next steps….Yes, I am stepping out on faith, doing it afraid, etc….You are an inspiration….Please keep the blogs coming! Julia


  5. Your story is so amazing. I am so glad I came across your page while searching black and abroad. Sometimes I have these dreams of traveling the world solo.


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